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October 1, 2009 | Visit the Farmers Market online at | Subscribe to Fresh Picks

Market News for This Saturday, October 3

Good Dogs!
Anyone remember the Peanuts book Happiness is a Warm Puppy? Well, no one at last Saturday's Dog Day was going to argue against that assertion. Not every puppy was warm (see photo number 9 in John Green's shots), but they were all most certainly making people happy, from their proud owners to the crowd that cheered them on during the parade. The dogs came from just up the street and from Canada (black tongue on that one!); they dressed as bees, bananas, Elvis, sheep, Phillies fans, and other noncanine personalities; and they ranged from about 2 pounds to roughly the size of a Mini Cooper. They were delightful to a one, and we thank you owners for sharing your pets with the Market and for how well they all behaved. We got no complaints at all! Guess that means we can do it again next year. (In case you wondered what happened to the promised nail trimming, our poor groomer was stay-in-bed sick and couldn't make it. He sent over two big bags of treats that we donated to the SPCA though, so it worked out well for some dogs anyway.)

Hello there, Fall! No doubt about it: we're there. It's downright chilly most evenings, and we're not hesitating to heat up the oven or put something on a burner to cook long and slow. Foods that'll warm both the kitchen and the soul are what we're craving, and we've turned to our cookbooks and recipe sites with an eye toward comfort foods.

Fact is that it's only the very rarest of weeks that can't be improved by potpie. Having a crud day? Get yourself some potpie for dinner, and things will soon be looking up. And when we say "get," we mean "preferably have someone else make it for you because it can take some time, but it's not hard so prepare it yourself if you have to, and bring in some friends for dinner." With that in mind, here are a few recipes you might want to print out and leave lying around at home in hopes the potpie fairy will soon visit. Doing the ingredient shopping (at the Farmers Market, of course) is also a good idea. Grab some ground pork at Natural Acres for pork tamale potpie, a modern, flavorful, south-of-the-border take on the dish that's topped with cornbread. If the cornmeal topping appeals to you but the pork doesn't, the Italian sausage in this recipe could easily be omitted or replaced with seitan to keep this vegetable-filled potpie friendly for vegetarians. If beef is your preference and you (or your designated potpie chef) have lots of time, perhaps Aunty Mary's slow-cooked potpie is the one for you (and it won't kill you to throw a carrot or two into that one in a token nod to veggies). It's hard to beat the potpies that honor the simple chicken, however. This recipe buries roasted chicken and vegetables under a rough puff pastry and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser (the time it takes is worth it, trust us), but this Pennsylvania Dutch potpie is our very favorite because it's much like the one we ate growing up, a humble stovetop variation that uses floury homemade noodles instead of a top crust.

There's much to be said for comfort desserts as well, and pudding has to top that list. This rice pudding with caramel apples makes good use of many Market ingredients (apples, cider, butter, milk, vanilla extract) and sounds simply delicious (caramel apples paired with pudding, people — c'mon!). And this old-fashioned bread pudding, humble in construction but more than satisfying in delivery, will have you buying an extra baguette every week just so you have the day-old bread needed to make it.

Market Shorts
This week's Mexican specialty at the Mission Burrito Bandito truck is tacos al pastor -- pork tacos that Javier will be constructing to order on the spot. And in a not at all shabby performance, especially for a place that no long exists in brick and mortar form, Mission Burrito placed third in the Best Burrito category of the My Fox Philly Hotlist competition.

Across the aisle, John's MiniCakes will be adding macaroni and cheese to his popular mushroom soup and red wine chili offerings. (Maybe he should start rethinking that "MiniCakes" name. Perhaps "MaxiTaste" would be better.)

Over at Natural Acres Farm, Mark tends to hide his wares in coolers, so you may not know that lately he's had some organic vegetables (beans and celery), rabbit and duck (both are whole, dressed, and frozen), and smoked capon (also frozen). Plus, those mini hay bales and ornamental corn that he appears to be using to add seasonal décor to his booth — they're for sale. If Mark remembers his signs, he might list these additions to his beef, pork, poultry, and egg lineup, but then again he might not, so it's always worth stopping in and asking what all he has that day. Think of it as a scavenger hunt or an interview. We've also given him the go-ahead to bring goat cheese the weeks that Flint Hill Farm isn't at the Market, so look for that new item at Natural Acres this week.

Lupine Valley Veggies has some stuff going on and is a bit iffy for Saturday. Keep your fingers crossed that Dan and Louise can make it with their loads of fresh herbs, more heirloom beans, sweet and hot peppers, ghoulish gourds, and maybe some of those coveted squash blossoms as well.

You may have noticed that the Regency Café wasn't at the Market last week. We heard about that absence too late to include it in the newsletter, so sorry if that gap was a surprise on Saturday morning. They'll be back this week though, so you won't have to cross the street for your coffee.

October 24 is the season's final Community Day as well as the Market's Fall Festival. Go here to download the Community Day application. The deadline is officially October 17, but get your application in as soon as possible in case the spaces are all claimed before then. Again, priority in space assignment is given to first-time participants for 2009. Next week the rules and applications will be available for the Sweet Endings Dessert Contest,

Save The Lansdowne [Theater]!
Please plan your market shopping this Saturday so that you'll be at the lot by 10:30, when we're going to try to herd all willing participants across Lansdowne Avenue (which will be briefly closed, hooray!) for a quick photo shoot rally to show support for saving "The Lansdowne," as it was known in its heyday (new heyday coming up, with your help). Once the photos are taken, you can go into Cinema 16:9 to hear what's going on with the theater — what's been done and what's next. You can also sign up to volunteer to help with some work in and around the theater, the best way to get a look inside real soon. In what is no doubt not entirely a coincidence, Cinema 16:9 will be showing a documentary about efforts to save on old theater that had seemingly outlived its usefulness. Preserve Me a Seat will run from Saturday, October 3, to Friday, October 9, at various times daily.

In the Spotlight
Local hot spot restaurant Sycamore received a good review in last week's City Paper, although Lansdowne takes it on the chin a bit at the start of the piece. Keep reading though; it gets better. (The reviewer might even be willing to stop back some time.) In keeping with the restaurant's seasonal leanings, Sycamore has introduced its fall menu, which features rabbit ragout and scallops with pork belly, among other innovative offerings. And don't forget about Sunday brunch (10:00 am to 2:00 pm), where you can enjoy a bottomless cup of Regency coffee and a basket of warm baked goods while you choose between the pancakes, the sausage and egg open-faced sandwich, and the burger.

Multiple-time Farmers Market Artist of the Week and local business Studio47West was recently featured in a online piece by Philadelphia Magazine. The jewelry designers' next area appearance will be October 20 at the Taste and Tour of the Countryside event in Drexel Hill. You can request complimentary passes for this event (required for admission) here. Then, right after Thanksgiving, Studio47West will be participating in A Little Bit of the Arts fine arts and crafts show at the Twentieth Century Club. More details on that will be forthcoming in future newsletters.

Studio47West is a member of the Lansdowne Business Association, which is currently inviting all shops, stores, professional offices, and home-based businesses to join the Association and be listed in the 2010 Lansdowne Directory. Printed each year, 7000 copies of the directory are distributed throughout the borough, listing members, borough contacts, and community organizations. Go here to download a membership application, or call Pat Arone, President, for more information (610-574-3449).

Gamers Welcome
The Garden Church is host to Lansdowne Games Day this Saturday, October 3, from 11:15 am to 9:00 pm. Games Day is a chance for young and old to come together for friendly competition, fellowship, and fun. All are invited, and the event is free but donations are welcome. The Garden Church is at 82 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne. The next Games Day is planned for October 24.

MAPThe Lansdowne Farmers Market takes place every Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm in the parking lot next to 28 North Lansdowne Avenue, rain or shine.

Visit our sister market, the Oakmont Farmers Market, Wednesday afternoons in Havertown for more local produce, bread, meat, and other products.

Featured This Week

Artist of the Week: Denise Pettit of Aestheticals creates fun and funky mixed media jewelry using various metals, glass, photographs, resin, shrink plastic, even bottle caps. Her pieces combine color, text, and imagery in clever and unique ways, and you're sure to be charmed by something she's made.

Musician of the Week: A repeat visitor to the Lansdowne Farmers Market (as well as a performer at this year's Arts Festival) Hezekiah Jones is a band, not an individual, headed by singer-songwriter Raphael Cutrufello and featuring an ever-changing rotation of other musicians. He's/it's/they're terrific. Give a listen.

Blog: A world ruled by dogs; name the calf; overachieving student.

Check out what's coming in the weeks ahead, music- and art-wise, by visiting our continually updated on-line schedule.


Upcoming Local Events

Movies at Cinema 16:9
October 1 to 8, various times
International Shorts Festival; Preserve Me a Seat
Free cartoons, Saturday 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
35 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Save The Lansdowne Rally at the Lansdowne Theater
Saturday, October 3, 10:30 to 11:00 am; Free
31 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Lansdowne Games Day at The Garden Church
Saturday, October 3, 11:15 am to 9:00 pm; Free
82 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne

Rod Picott and Amanda Shires at Concerts at the Beach House
Thursday, October 8, 7:30 pm; $15, BYOB or 610-626-0012

Bunnicula: The Musical at Celebration Theater
Fri., Sat., Sun., October 9 to 25; $10 to $15
Twentieth Century Club, 84 S. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne; 610-259-1800

Zoe Mulford with guest Nik Everett at the Lansdowne Folk Club
Thursday, October 22, 7:30 pm; $15 to $18
Twentieth Century Club, 84 S. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne or 610-622-7250

Click for a complete listing of upcoming local events.

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View From Lupine Valley

Tunnel of Beans

Last year we grew our tomatoes on a seven-foot trellis. By the end of August, the tomatoes had reached the top, then had folded over and grown across the latticework of the trellis. To pick the colorful fruits, I had to reach far above my head.

Because we rotate our crops, this year's tomatoes are on a new trellis while last year's trellis hosts the beans. By July, they had already reached the top and begun to spread overhead.

Now when I pick beans, I must tunnel through the rows. As I go along picking, they wrap their twining stems around me. I fear that if I linger too long, I will become permanently lodged in the bean patch. The wide leaves overhead provided nice shade from the hot August sun, but they are so sharp that I must wear long sleeves so my shoulders aren't scratched.

When I emerge from this tunnel, my shirt is covered in heart-shaped leaves. I call this adventure the tunnel of love. It sounds like a teenage attraction at an amusement park, but it's just one of the free entertainments of growing vegetables.

-Louise Bierig